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Old 03-17-2004, 04:34 PM   #1
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Step 1. Consider the shapes that make up the form of the hair




This little example works for this particular child, whose hair is this particular blonde, and in this particular light. It's not a recipe, it's just to show how I painted this child's hair. You have to consider the unique variations of the blonde hair you are painting, but going through the same set of decisions can help, no matter what.

In this grayscale diagram, I've bumped the contrast to show more clearly the different light, middle and dark values that comprise the shapes of the hair. They have nothing to do with strands of hair.
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Old 03-17-2004, 04:37 PM   #2
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Step 2. Set up the edges and adjacent colors.

If the background will vary in any material way from the toned canvas, either in color or value, I put it in first. I find I cannot make good judgments about color, temperature or value out of context. The green on my palette is Pthalo green, which is a wild, staining color, so I'll usually give it a day to dry a little before placing overlying or adjacent color. I'll usually paint a little inside where I think the silhouette will be, in order to set up the outside hair edges.

Same thing with the skin color: by placing initial areas of color, I can make comparative choices about hue and value of hair at the hairline, and also will be prepared to create soft hairline edges.
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Old 03-17-2004, 04:38 PM   #3
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Step 3: Paint the hair.

First, this boy's hair is lit by strong, and very warm direct sunlight, coming from our upper left. The hair on our upper right is also very light, but is only illuminated by reflected blue sky. The dark area on top of the head needs to act as an area of temperature transition. The side of the hair on our right is influenced by the warmth of the sunlight, but is somewhat obliquely positioned, and so registers more accurate local color.

I don't have many colors on my palette, so I mix up neutrals and earth colors. If your palette already has them, you can just go for the color you want.

Colors are:

Permanent Alizarin
Permanent Rose
Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium Lemon
Pthalo Yellow-Green
Pthalo Green
Ultramarine Blue

Flake White Replacement
Ivory Black

The dark color is a mix of Cad Scarlet, Ultramarine Blue, and little of each of the greens.

The local color is a middle-light value yellow, grayed down with warms. Its a mix of the dark base, lightened and warmed with Cad lemon, white and Pthalo yellow-green.

The cool light is a mix of Ultramarine Blue. white, and Cad lemon.

The warm light is white and a touch of Indian Yellow, which I'll bring out for just such an occasion.
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